Matthew has two stories of Jesus feeding the multitude (14:13- 21 and 15:32-39). In the second feeding, it is Jesus, not the disciples, who takes the initiative; seven loaves, not five, are multiplied; seven baskets, not 12, remain after the feeding; and 4,000 men, not five, are fed. The crowd has now been three days with Jesus, and their hunger would be obvious to him.
Once more, the feeding of the 4,000 shows Jesus’ mercy and compassion. He heals many people: the mute, the deformed, the lame, and the blind. The reaction of the crowd deserves a second look; it is described by a curious phrase: “they glorified the God of Israel.” This would point to the Gentiles who, worshipping other gods, now give glory to the “God of Israel” whom their Jewish neighbors adore. This would also show that Jesus’ feeding of the 4,000 and healings go out to the Gentiles as well. While saying that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Jesus heals the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:24) and ministers to the needs of Gentiles.
GOSPEL • Mt 15:29-37
At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.